PTSD Plagues Surgeon Following Tours in Iraq

Readers who are concerned with veterans’ issues may take an interest in the following account of a former Army reservist who is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. The woman served as a critical care and trauma surgeon for six months on the front lines in Iraq.

After she came home to the United States, she realized she was traumatized by the experience of treating the wounds of her comrades in Iraq. She was triggered by loud sounds like a car backfiring that would transport the veteran back to Iraq, where she believed that there were injured people who needed her help. The frequent PTSD episodes meant that her blood pressure and heart rate were always high.

The frequent triggers caused the former reservist to fall into a depression, which led to a suicide attempt in February 2011. Since then, she has continued to recover with the help of an Australian Blue Heeler puppy and the outreach of others.

Many veterans returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and as a result find it difficult or impossible to stay gainfully employed. The emotional symptoms may also cause depression that can reduce a person’s quality of life. A veteran who is suffering from PTSD may be entitled to financial support from the Veterans Administration. An attorney with a background in veterans’ affairs might be able to provide support and assistance to someone seeking financial compensation for PTSD and may have experience and knowledge of the procedures required by the Veterans Administration to file a claim. In the event that the first claim is denied, an attorney might help with the appeals process.

Source: FOX News, “Army surgeon struggles to heal from PTSD after Iraq tours”, Cristina Corbin, November 11, 2013.